“I think I’m going to wear my thongs to town tonight,” I say to my friend.
She looks at me with bemusement.
“Wow…ummm…okay,” she replies cautiously.
I quickly realise my mistake. Australians are constantly faced with the challenges that our “language” and diction provide overseas – and this was no different. Our slang, our terminology for flip flops had once again made a normal situation slightly weird!
The streets of Mykonos, which could also be described as alleyways, are narrow without feeling claustrophobic. The stones making up the street floors are outlined in white, which to me shouts “TRIPPING HAZZARD: Please don’t sue us”. But it blends, unlike the blinding yellow paint often used to mark steps.
Looking down individual alleys, you’re met with new sights. Flower baskets in the centre of New Port are there as replacement of gardens whilst stairs are painted different colours. Perhaps they are personalisation.
Mykonos comes alive in the evenings. The daytime is hot and the bright white of the buildings offers no solace and almost no shade to explore. But in the evening, when the sun sinks below the line of the tallest building, Mykonos breathes. There is a buzz in the air as vendors become busy selling their wares and restaurant owners try to entice you in, each offering deals which promise to be better than their neighbours. The air is cooler and thrums with music drifting from nearby bars which echoes through the alleys.
I don’t really know what I expected, when I pictured Greece. I suppose I can only describe Greece, in the way I saw it in my mind, as white and blue buildings like those in Oia (Santorini). But Mykonos is stark and barren…and strangely beautiful.
Of course, the whitewashing is ever present; to the point where we wondered if it’s a standard when building that new buildings must fit the existing aesthetic. But the hillsides are bleak and brown, with only a few, low-lying shrubs scattered intermittently.
Our hotel is perched high on one of those said hills (up a seemingly endless set of stairs!) above St Stefanos Beach. A 10 minute bus ride from town and a pristine beach just moments away, it is the perfect location.
Most mornings, we make our way down to a cafe on the waterfront which serves Greek yoghurt with honey for €2.50. But on the third day it is €3. And the fourth day it’s €3.50. At first we thought we were going crazy but perhaps prices increase on weekends. Either way, it is the cheapest Greek yoghurt we found in Mykonos, and nearby competing restaurants and cafes sell it for at least €6.
Each day for lunch, we find some new and exciting place that sells typically Greek food for a bargain price. We practically eat our bodyweight in tzatziki, hummus and gyros. Also, for some reason, gelato.
The beaches are unlike any in Australia. They are flat and calm. The water is crystal and shimmers and reflects like a disco ball in the sunlight. Five days in this paradise weren’t enough but I know I’ll be back. For now, I’ll just take with me the memories of Myknos and the hundreds of photographs which will jog them.